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Some say it was commissioner, others point to Afghan officials
- Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: There were conflicting reports about target of Monday’s bomb blast in Peshawar as some said Commissioner Sahibzada Mohammad Anees was the target while others challenged this assertion arguing that perpetrators of the attack could have planned it to eliminate the two Afghan nationals associated with the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar.


Soon after the blast, most of the TV channels started running breaking news stories and said that Commissioner Peshawar Sahibzada Mohammad Anees was the apparent target as his vehicle was passing through the area where the blast took place.It was not true as clarified by office of the commissioner. Sahibzada Anees told The News he was at home when the blast took place.


However, he said, an official vehicle to pick him up from home, was on the way when blast occurred. “I am not sure but it could be a coincidence as the vehicle was on the way to pick me up when the blast took place. Even then, the vehicle was not close to the blast scene. But someone in the media called my office where someone told them about the vehicle on road and it became a story for the media,” the commissioner explained.


Sahibzada Anees has recently been transferred to the troubled Peshawar division from Kohat where he spent two years. He was the commissioner of Hazara division when the US Special Forces on May 2, 2011 killed al-Qaeda’s founding leader Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad residence.


After the commissioner office clarified that since the commissioner was not on the road, therefore he was not the target, some official circles immediately started assertion that then two Afghan officials could have been target of the blast, caused by explosives laden on a motorbike and parked near the bus stop.


However, the Afghan Consular General in Peshawar Syed Mohammad Ibrahimkhel was not ready to admit that Qari Hilal Ahmad and Mohammad Idrees could have been the target of the blast.


Talking to The News, he said both the Afghans were based in Peshawar for some time and never felt any security threat before. He said Qari Hilal Ahmad was serving at the Afghan Trade Commissionerate in Peshawar while Mohammad Idrees was refugee attaché, dealing affairs of the Afghan refugees in Pakistan.


“They had actually reached their offices located on the University Road in a car but came out to the street to buy a newspaper from a nearby stall when caught in the blast,” the consular general recalled.Like other victims of the blast, both of them were also taken to the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) but they could not survive due to serious head injuries.


Since Qari Hilal was the son of a known former Mujahideen commander and leader of Hizb-e-Islami, Qazi Mohammad Amin Waqaud, who is currently playing an active role as a member of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, working to persuade the Afghan Taliban towards peace talks, therefore it was suspected that he might have been the target.


Qazi Amin Waqaud was based in Peshawar along with his family when the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan. He joined the government of President Hamid Karzai when their Taliban’s rule was toppled as a result of US-led invasion of Afghanistan.


He recently came to Islamabad and held meetings with the Pakistani clerics and wanted to invite them to a joint conference of the Pakistani and Afghan religious scholars in Kabul to help control violence and militancy in both the neighbouring countries.


The Afghan consular general said Qari Hilal was living with his family in Hayatabad in Peshawar. He said bodies of both of them were transported to their native Bhatti Kot area in Jalalabad district of Nangarhar province on Monday afternoon. No militant group has claimed responsibility for Monday’s blast, which police officials have termed a suicide attack.